Medical Science - Other

Euthanasia – Ethical



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My Friend and I were discussing supposedly we were on our death beds and were not able to talk for ourselves; the doctor asked the big question to our significant others, "Do you want to keep her on life support"? I explained to my friend that I would not want my family to keep me on life support because I would not want to suffer anymore. She told me that she would want her to keep her on life support because a breakthrough might occur while she is left on life support.

In recent news, a twelve-year old boy was pronounced brain dead by Children National Medical Center. He has been staying at the hospital for the past six months. His Family is currently fighting the hospital to keep him on life support but the doctors are saying it is to no use. His Family believes that it is not the choice of the doctors on whether their son dies or stays alive. The doctors believe that without the use of the brain he his technically dead and his family should not allow him to suffer by keeping life support active. This case is similar to so many going on around the world. This situation is known as Euthanasia, which is the intentional killing, by act or omission of a dependent human being for his or her alleged benefit.

Questions are being posed by many people all around the world on whether Euthanasia is a matter of right or wrong. Does a person have the right to take another's life? Should a married wife have the right to pull the plug on her husband when his family does not feel the same way? One might say she does have the right considering she is his significant other, they may have talked about the subject before and he gave her consent in the past. Others would say that she would be consenting to murder and that his family has just as much right as she does because they are his blood relatives. I believe the wife has every right to pull the plug on her husband when he has no life left in his body and she has evidence that he consented to cutting life support.

Since the husband has no way to consent and his wife has written documents or evidence of him explaining if the situation had ever happened he would not want to be left on life support. The evidence would give her every right to take responsibility and obligation to her loved one. Some believe this situation of "letting die" is not the same as Euthanasia while others would believe that this is just as much the same (Worsnop 29). This type of Euthanasia would be referred to as Voluntary Euthanasia when the person has given consent before hand for someone to take their life. This type of Euthanasia is built on wishful thinking and statistics (Voluntary 16). The family is the blood relatives but in traditional marriages the spouses leaves the family to be with the wife so that would give her sole right to making such a decision. Another case much like this situation happened in 1983, when Nancy Cruzan lapsed into irreversible coma that left her in "vegetable" form. In Nancy's case it was not her significant other who wanted the plug pulled yet it was her family who had talk with Nancy many times about the possibilities of this happening to her and how she would not want to live. The hospital saw their decision wrong and believed they should wait. The decision the court made was to take Nancy off life support she had been in coma for seven years (Worsnop 43). The evidence of approval should be recognized as understanding the wishes that the spouse made or talked about before the accident ever happened.

In many countries, the process of Euthanasia is used to relieve the sick and dying from their suffering. The wife might want to relieve her husband of his suffering and illness in this situation. This would be a good reason for her to want her husband to be put off of life support. Derek Humphrey who started an organization that aims to promote voluntary euthanasia for the terminally ill. He started this program after he helped his first wife who was diagnosed with bone cancer take her life by serving her coffee that was laced with secobarbital and codeine (Worsnop 19-20). Was it wrong for him to participate in taking his own wife life even though she gave him consent? Not at all because she gave him consent and she was tired of suffering and already knew that the cancer was killing her. So would it be wrong for a wife to volunteer in pulling the plug when she knows her husband would not want to suffer no longer? It would not because she would have every right.

The freedom of choice is something that I believe everyone should take into consideration when referring to voluntary euthanasia. Just because the husband has no possible way to explain why he would not want to prolong his life does not give his family or the government the right to take away his freedom of choice in this matter. A central ethical argument which was given is that the person who has given the right to someone else to consent to them taking their lives. That would be a permissible argument for them choosing the direction they would have liked to take in their own lives (Brock 11). This gives all right to his wife to go forth with what he would have decided if he could have spoken for himself. Some might say her being the person that agreed to his death she might go into a depression mode leaving her miserable. Her knowing that her husband did not want or believed in prolong life would make her feel like she had fulfilled his last wishes. If his family were to take that away from her that would put her in a depressed miserable state of being. Why should his family stop her from completing his last wishes?

The husband's family has every right to disagree with the action of pulling the plug because they are his blood kin. They have known him all his life and they have no evidence against the fact that his wife might want to take his life because of "personal reasons." He and his wife might have had problems in the marriage and he might have insurance on his life. He could have told one of his family members these problems were going on. His family has a justified reason for not trusting her decision. This situation might sound "Lifetime network" but matters like these happen every day. His family could have a fear of him facing a degrading and undignified death (Ledger 13). They might believe his death will come in time and that his wife is being caught up in emotions when deciding the choice of pulling her husband life support.

Some would call his wife a murderer because she took the life of someone who had a family that loved him. Voluntary Euthanasia is considered as murder around the world by mostly religions. Churches have described Euthanasia as immoral, murder and hoping that doctors would reject the practice (Catholic Church 3). Because the family did not consent to him being put off life support this would be considered as deliberate killing of an innocent person (Brock 12). It would be logical for them to not want for him to be put off life support. It could be because of religion and them not believing in taking someone life yet they might believing in prolong life until the time come for them to be taken away.

It is unlikely for someone to make a competent, enduring choice before becoming terminally ill. If his wife said they talked about how he would not have wanted to prolong his life if he would ever come under coma. The saying is you never know until it happens to you is very much true. This saying is used for many cases including abortion. People do not know what they would decide in any situation until it happens. It would be illogical for the husband to have decided beforehand what he would want in this situation. So in this situation his family would have every right to not want her to go forth with the decision he had made before he was in the condition.

I believe that the wife would have every right to make the decision to stop her husband life support without the consent of the family. She would have this right because she has talked to him about the situation and what he would want. She does not want to see him suffer more than what he already has by prolonging life support. The husband has the freedom of choice and his choice was to not prolong his life; if they were to take that wish away from him they would not be advocating freedom of choice. "Society is delighted because it believes that the way in which we end our lives should be a matter of personal choice. People are increasingly demanding the right to live their lives in the way that suits them best. The same should apply at death. Should I suffer from a terminal disease and my pain cannot be alleviated, I want the right to choose how and when I die (Annette 2)." I believe that Voluntary Euthanasia is a choice that many people chose because they are tired of suffering and just want to be at peace.

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